Last month, a white man in Pennsylvania was caught on camera telling a Black woman, whom he called a “n****r” and a “monkey,” to “go back to Africa.” After the video went viral, the man began receiving his own forms of verbal harassment, and now he is claiming he is not a racist because of his biracial relatives.
In mid-July, John Rodgers was involved in a road rage incident with 20-year-old Zhaqweyza Armstrong (pictured above). On a major interstate, Armstrong pulled out her phone and began recording when Rodgers hurled racial slurs her way.
“I didn’t know what was going on. I was terrified,” she told Fox29 at the time.
In the clip, Rodgers appeared to shout the insults for no reason.
“Go to Africa. Hurry up, go to Africa! Run n****r run, monkey, monkey, monkey,” Rodgers said in the video.
When authorities investigated the incident, Rodgers claimed Armstrong was the one who started the ordeal by driving while on her cellphone and calling him “white trash.”
“He went in and said in a statement that I was calling him racial slurs, tried to throw something out the window at him, yelled at him. I did not say one word to that man at all,” Armstrong told FOX29.
Now, Rodgers and has family have been subjected to threats from strangers. In order to clear the air, Rodgers has come forward to say his language came from frustration, not racism, reported the Daily Local.
“I am not racial,” the 52-year-old told the Daily Local News. “I have a mixed-race grandchild. Biracial grandkids. I wouldn’t normally say that word. I am not a racial person. I don’t see color. I see ignorance.”
An investigator with the Pennsylvania State Police has also defended Rodgers.
“[He] was upset and said some things he didn’t necessarily mean, out of anger. He wanted to convey to me that he wasn’t a racist. I gathered that from our meeting after seeing photos of his family,” Sgt. William Slaton told the Daily Local.
“Do I believe he is a racist? No,” continued Slaton. “Do I believe he used words out of anger? Yes. He isn’t a racist. I did not perceive that when I met him. He said he just doesn’t like stupid people ... His sole purpose now is to get the message out that he is not a racist ... I think he just chose the easiest words he could to offend someone because he was extraordinarily angry.”
According to Slaton, both Rodgers and Armstrong have agreed not to press charges against one another in the case. Police are still investigating those who apparently made threats against Rodgers and his family.